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A Quick History Lesson

If you want to hear the story of Little House Brewing Company, it's important that you know a thing or two about Vassar College, in Poughkeepsie, NY.  

You see, Vassar was founded back in 1861 by Matthew Vassar, a man who made his fortune in the brewing world. His brewery was one of the largest and most successful of its time, exporting beer all over the country.  

Fast forward to 2010, when Sam and Carlisle met as members of the varsity Cross Country and Track & Field teams. They bonded over long hours of running, and longer hours of well-earned beers. 

It didn't take long for the two underage students to start kicking around the idea of following in Matty's footsteps and opening a brewery one day...


Carlisle Schaeffer, Co-Founder

Carlisle is no stranger to Chester, or to the brewing world. He was born and raised on Liberty Street, just half a mile from Little House Brewing Company.

Carlisle started brewing in early 2011, bootlegging gallon batches on his parent's stove and hiding jugs of fermenting beer in his closet. As his affliction with brewing turned terminal, he began taking over the dorm kitchen of his college digs to churn out a new ideas. Carlisle penned his thesis, titled Brewing Against the Grain, on the rise of craft beer in America: looking at the socio-economic, and political conditions starting with Prohibition, that allowed for the craft beer renaissance.

Additionally, Carlisle was involved in an independent study on brewing, focused on recreating Matthew Vassar's original recipes, with little more than a few old brewery inventory sheets dug out of Vassar's Special Collections.

After graduating in May, 2014 with a degree in STS and a correlate in Studio Art, Carlisle jumped into the brewing industry, boots first. He started an apprenticeship at Cottrell Brewing Company in Pawcatuck, CT, studying directly under their head brewer. He quickly worked his way up the ranks, going full time in 2015, and making the leap to Head Brewer in 2016, where he spent his days churning out 40bbl batches.

However, despite all this commercial experience, Carlisle's passion for brewing has not dwindled. He still spends his free time developing recipes for Little House Brewing Co. on the "Pool House Brew Haus" pilot system. Whenever he's able to travel he seeks out new breweries to visit and learn from. And, despite all the beer, Carlisle is still running: although he hasn't raced in a while, he hopes to get his beer-to-mile ratio back on track for the rest of 2018.


Sam Wagner, Co-Founder

Sam graduated from Vassar in 2013, where he proudly introduced Carlisle to both the joys of craft beer and of the study of Science, Technology, & Society.

Sam started working as an inventory and supply chain management analyst at Target, forecasting and purchasing efficient inventory levels. In 2014, Sam left Target to join Analytic Partners, a premier advanced marketing analytics consultancy, as a marketing science analyst. Stationed directly at a major client's headquarters in Minneapolis, his responsibilities ranged from "big data" to core marketing insight development and presentation delivery.

Although he holds five years of combined experience in corporate retail and marketing consulting, Sam is first and foremost an avid home-brewer with a true passion for water chemistry and yeast microbiology.

In fact, his journey with beer began far earlier than it legally should have, learning the basics of home-brewing from his father at the age of 15. Sam's obsessive pursuit for the perfect pint truly began after graduating college: After transforming his parent's basement into the ultimate brewhouse-laboratory, he regularly spent his free time learning advanced brewing techniques and developing his own recipes. Sam has brewed countless batches to this day, honing in on precision, consistency, and quality, with the goal to make each beer taste better than the last.

Outside of work, Sam gained commercial brewing and yeast handling experience at Sisyphus Brewing back in Minneapolis. Sam is always on the lookout for new breweries to visit and learn from. While he doesn't work full time in the brewing industry himself (yet), his passion for great beer, coupled with his strong business management and marketing experience, are invaluable for LHBC.